Tweens . . . not Kids, not Teenagers - The 'in-between' Age


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This is my MA Advertising dissertation - The goal of the document is to provide ad agency's, clients, and current/ furture tween brands with a platform to begin their tween campaign. From this you will be able to get a sense of who exactly tweens are, what they do, how they think, and the best methods to reach them. My role in an ad agency is that of an account planner - a position that researches, finds strategies & provides insights. I approached my dissertation from a planner's perspective & really enjoyed the hundreds of hours I spent researching and writing about tweens. I would kindly appreciate any comments and feedback! Thanks - Colleen

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Tweens . . . not Kids, not Teenagers - The 'in-between' Age

  1. 1. Figure 1- Tween Fashion inTeen Vogue 2009Notice how Tweens. . . adult themodel looks not Kids, not Teenagers – and how short her dress is The ‘in-between’ Age Buckinghamshire New University Faculty of Creativity & Culture MA Advertising Colleen Merwick Ray Batchelor October 2009 Word Count 8,620 Module 4
  2. 2. Table of Contents Introduction 1 1. Regulations, Ethics & Social Impact 7 2. Why are they so Popular? 12 3. Tween World 16 4. Media Usage 22 5. How to Reach Tweens 28 Conclusion 34 Account of Sources 37 Picture Credits 41
  3. 3. Introduction I did). Tween retailers Limited Too & abercrombie did not exist. Eight to Whether its the media aging the twelve year old girls were rarely mistaken for teens. Ten years ago, the child or that children are simply average kid had no clue nor did they care about Juicy Couture, Lacoste,evolving faster these days, companies or Tiffany’s . The only big fashion labels we had were Guess and The Gap (not considered cool by today’s standards). Growing up we had Barbie have been quick to notice the and Cabbage Patch Kids and our moms as role models – not Bratz dolls, growing differences between Britney Spears, & Paris Hilton. Why in the past 20 years have childrenchildhood ages which are pronounced changed so dramatically? Today, kids now are more adult in appearance, attitude, & thinking than ever. However, this transformation from childenough to warrant products, services, Figure 2 retail stores and marketing tactics Bratz Dolls specific to the ‘bridger’ age group. 1 Notice how they have much more attitude than Barbie. Prior to the early 90’s kids were kids until they were teenagers. Itwasn’t until around age 13 they started to emulate adults. Kids used toplay with toys, ride bikes, finger paint, & build forts in the woods. Kidsused to look like kids. Young girls used to look like young girls. They to mini- adult hasn’t happened overnight. It has been a progression,wore clothes from the little girls’ department or the Children’s Store (like incorporating numerous societal, behavioural, and technological influences. Could such seemingly abstract things really be affecting kids?1 A. de Mesa, Marketing and Tweens: BFF, article dated 10 Oct 2005, web page fromBrand Channel< http://www.brandchannel. com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=284> accessed13 Aug 2009 1
  4. 4. According to the book, Kids Superbrands: An Insight into some ofBritain’s strongest kids brands 2006, even the environment is affectingkids, the age which puberty begins has dropped significantly from 17years of age to 12 today.2 Figure 3 – Chart comparing ages from1960 to 2020 Notice that over timechildhood is getting shorter and the teenage years are Figure 4– Typical tweens shopping without parents in the expensive Juicy getting Couture boutique longer this matter you ask? Because someone is satisfying their wants, The New York Times article, Tweens ‘R’ Shoppers, Seymour, cites ‘. . . the move away from authoritarian parents to parents-as-friends giving rise to a generation of children that were born to shop - and the parents haveThis helps to explain why kids are beginning to mature physically at a created them.’3 Kids may want certain things, but its the parents whomuch younger age than we or our friends ever did. This physical body aren’t putting their foot down to stop it. And the parents- as -friendsmaturity, coupled with the desire to look and act older is often satisfiedthrough materialism to enhance their appearance & status. Why does all 3 L.J... Seymour, ‘Tweens ‘R’ Shoppers’, article dated 22 April 2007, web page from The New York Times website <2 Superbrands, Kids Superbrands: AN Insight into some of Britain’s strongest kids brands>2006, Superbrands Ltd, China 2006, p13 accessed 31 Jul 2009 2
  5. 5. attitude doesn’t just stop at shopping – it continues to more relaxed rules. kid marketers to establish a relationshipThe right-of-passage, the turning point from kid to teenager is when you with young consumers. . . 5are allowed to go to the mall by yourself. Parents today are permitting Its like Spring Break for tweens,"kids 13 and under to go to the mall by themselves with money to make The first and only Nickelodeon-themed my husband observed. Indeed,purchases. James McNeal reinforces this sentiment in his book, Children 6 hotel in the world will delight kids with with characters,as Consumers: Insights and Implications, their own separate kid suites decorated activities and shows with favorite characters like SpongeBob designed to appeal It seems clear, then, that children are turned into consumers at a Squarepants. Outside two amazing to Nickelodeons water parks, character breakfasts, target audience of 5 very early age in our society through the desires and to 15 year olds activities and a 3,000 square foot encouragement of parents, who also provide the youngsters with arcade will keep the whole family the necessary financial support. The net result of this is that the entertained. children become a relatively big market segment for such items Figure 5– Holiday Inn , as sweets, snacks, soft drinks and toys as they pursue self- Nickelodeon Family Hotel in Orlando gratification and self-sufficiency.4Today, almost all major companies are trying to focus marketing effortsto this age group whether they offer products to kids now or in thefuture. In, Brandchild, author Martin Lindstrom states that, Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the number of marketers competing for kid’s attention - car companies, airlines, hotels & financial services are competing with traditional 5 M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, p46 & 1934 6 J.McNeal, Children as Consumers: Insights and Implications, D. C. Heath and Company, C.Chisholm, Nickelodeon Family Suites, web page from <United States 1987, excerpted on the Center for Media Literacy web site> accessed 1 Oct 2009 3
  6. 6. If tween allowances keep increasing and 100% of their money is Figure 6, 7, & 8 –‘spending money’ - Is it any wonder that companies are trying to attract Build –A-Bear store right,their attention? It’s not just existing companies trying to beef up their creating their bear identity, a bear to buy & stuff belowefforts to kids, the Brand Channel article, Marketing and Tweens: BFF, Notice that Build-A-Bearstates that, appeals to boy & girl younger tweens Build-A-Bear, Paint Your Own Pottery, and the American Girl Store are just a few US retail stores that were specifically designed for tweens—and namely tween girls.7 Build-a-Bear allows tweens to pick an animal stuff it with love, give it a heart, name it, and clothe it.The term tween is still relatively new to some people – it generally Although anyone can pick the samedescribes a group of children ages 8 – 12 or 9 – 13 depending on the animal to stuff it’s the customizationsource, the Marketing and Tweens: BFF article goes on to explain, that tweens love and attracts them to‘Regardless of the exact age definition, most agree that the breaking the brand. Build-a-bear haspoint of a ‘child’ becoming a ‘tween’ is by the American fifth grade succeeded in tapping into a(approximately ten years old), when he/she rejects more childlike images combination of tweens values:and associations and aspires to be more like a teen.’8 9  Let me express myself  Let me have fun  Let me do my own thing7  Let me get my friends involved A. de Mesa, Marketing and Tweens: BFF, article dated 10 Oct 2005, web page fromBrand Channel< http://www.brandchannel. com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=284> accessed  Let me host a great party13 Aug 2009  Let me show off to my friends8 A. de Mesa, Marketing and Tweens: BFF, article dated 10 Oct 2005, web page from and familyBrand Channel< http://www.brandchannel. com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=284> accessed13 Aug 20099 M. Lindstrom, p108 4
  7. 7. term tween describes not only an age but a specific lifestyle. An age not only influenced by today’s changing technology but by a strong desire to acquire material goods. Because of these factors, tweens exist predominantly in western cultures, although they appear in many countries worldwide. My focus however will be on the U.S. tween Figure 9, 10, 11 & 12 – American Girl’s with market (more specifically tween girls) -since it is one of the largest & has their dolls above, American Girl been around the longest. Demographically, tweens that truly are able to Dolls ,above, right, below live the tween lifestyle come from households with an above average income. Even though tweens have existed since the 90’s in the U.S., the amount of information written on this market has been scattered, incomplete, & is constantly changing. I have elected to use Martin Lindstrom’s Brandchild book as my primary resource since it has the most current & comprehensive global study about tweens. It is my objective to take youAmerican Girl dolls have been staring glassily from on a tween journey from the ethics of advertising, to the most currentbookcases and toy chests in the nation’s upscale playrooms thoughts, interests, and trends of this age group. And finally endingand bedrooms since 1986, when Pleasant Rowland foundeda mail-order doll company that sold a line of dolls, books with reasons and rationale as to why and how companies can and shouldand accessories based on “tween” characters from various market to this emerging age group. 10periods in American history. In 1998, Pleasant Companybecame a subsidiary of Mattel, and the dolls have continued 10to be nothing less than a ginormous success -- the M. Mahoney, The new American Girl doll is homeless -- and causing quite a stir, article dated 30 Sep 09, web page from Examiner < generated $463 million in revenue last year.10 Parenting-Examiner~y2009m9d30-The-new-American-Girl-doll-is-homeless--and- causing-quite-a-stir> accessed 1 Oct 2009 5
  8. 8. Regulations, Ethics, & Social Impact comply with their rules.12 The Children’s Advertising Review Unite ‘Advertising is not a right, it is a (CARU) issues general guidelines that are applicable for advertising to privilege.’ 11 children under 12.13 Furthermore there are also numerous other parental, Howard Gossage school, and miscellaneous groups/associations that are focused on advertising to kids. PBS (U.S. Public Broadcasting Channel) also offers a website called ‘Dont Buy It,’ chock full of advice on how to make tweensThe U.S. government has the ability to ban advertising to tweens in savvy consumers.14completely just like they banned cigarette advertising. Many people &organizations believe that tweens are not savvy enough to know whatadvertising is or does. Is there a need for regulation? Of course, mainlybecause of the young & impressionable age of tweens.Because of the anxiety surrounding this age group, many governingbodies & laws concerning advertising to minors have been established.In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is aimed atprotecting children under the age of 13 through advertising and traderegulation. The Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Children’s OnlinePrivacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the Direct Marketing Association Figure 13 –PBS Website for kids to understand about media & how it is used.all offer specific regulations which explicitly state concerns for children Features include "advertising tricks," "buying smart—see through the saleswho are not yet teenagers. COPPA’s (part of the FCC) function is to pitch," and "cover model secrets 12make sure websites that collect information about children under 13 13 Web Page from COPPA <> accessed on 30 Sep 2009 D.Schumann and E.Thorson, Internet Advertising: Theory and Research, Psychology Press, United States 2007, p34411 14 J.Steel, Truth Lies and Advertising, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., United States 1998, p 7 Web page from Don’t Buy It < > accessed 30 Sep 2009 6
  9. 9. If all these regulations are in place what exactly is there to argue about advertisers and parents assume mutual responsibility for itsthen? In the article, Familiar with Tweens? You should be . . . , author content and exposure.16Levasseur, sums up the debate between parents & advertisers quite I personally however, do not feel that advertising alone is to blame forclearly, ‘By treating these young people like mature, independent the materialistic mindset tweens have today. I do agree though, that ifconsumers, advertisers are taking parents out of the decision-making tweens as consumers are not educated or monitored by their parentsprocess and thereby making children more susceptible to unhealthy properly, these obsessive characteristics may worsen. More specifically, Imessages about body image, sexuality, relationships and violence. This is agree that advertising does have a responsibility to kids’ well-being &an emotional issue that creates sharp divides.’15 Protective & vocal that the inundation of sugary food ads do impact tweens’ overall health.parents do not like the changes they see & want to shift the blame. Many parents & health groups are anti-advertising in general because ofAdvertising unfortunately, seems to be the easy & ‘logical’ scapegoat. excessive advertising of food products aimed at kids. Dr. Susan Linn, Co-Are changes in advertising a direct correlation to the present changes in Founder of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, believes that,tweens? The Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) believes that, There is no moral, ethical, or social justification for marketing Advertisers need to gain the trust of children and their parents junk food to children. Childhood obesity is a major public health through effective and honest advertising. In turn, parents must problem. Overweight children are at risk for a number of serious take responsibility for their children: monitor what they watch medical problems including Type 2 diabetes; yet children and read, determine how they spend their free time, and educate continue to be inundated with ads for foods high in fat, sugar, them to become responsible and informed consumers. salt, and calories. . . Television commercials and Internet Advertising to children will become less controversial only when advertising combine with brand licensing, in-school marketing, promotions, contests, and advergames to sabotage parents’ best efforts to raise healthy children, turning kids into miniature15 16 Maïthé Levasseur, ‘Familiar with Tweens? You should be . . .’, article dated 9 Feb 2007, Web page from The Advertising Educational Foundation<web page from Tourism Intelligence, <> accessed 30 Sepwith-tweens-you-should-be/> accessed 30 Sep 2009 2009 7
  10. 10. lobbyists for products such as SpongeBob Squarepants, Wild home. Even before they are out of elementary school, many Bubble-Berry Pop Tarts and Dora the Explorer Fruit Snacks.17 tweens have had to shoulder some pretty serious burdens -nearly half are children of divorce. Too old for child care but not oldOn the other side of the coin, The New York Times article, Tweens ‘R: Us’, enough to travel around town on their own, theyre often alone inputs the emphasis directly on parents, ‘Ideally, parents remain the major the afternoon with only cartoons or the computer for company,role models for tweens . . . this is also a problematic situation. Parents immersed in a culture their parents dont understand.20 Or care?rarely follow the beliefs and values that they’re attempting to impart to Advertising & society will forever be linked as both impact how the othertheir tweens. This is a generation that holds their parents accountable, functions & it is often the ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’and the ‘do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do’ approach no longer works.’18 Today’s theory that applies. Some societal ‘issues’ linked to advertising to tweenstweens are savvy enough to see through this double-standard. What’s are obesity, health, diet, body image, and materialism, Kantrowitz &even more sad is that Brandchild’s research found out that,’ tweens are Wingert broaden this list,likely to spend more time on their own than with their parents - eventhe TV has spent more active time with the them than their parents.’19 The girls wear sexy lingerie & provocative makeup created justThe Truth About Tweens by Kantrowitz & Wingert, expands this even for tweens to complete what some parents call the Lolita look.further implicating not only parents but society, The boys affect a tough-guy swagger--while fretting about when Although marketers have helped to define tweens by creating their voices will change. In many ways, tweens are blessed. For products especially for them - researchers who study adolescents most of their lives, the economy has been booming. Theyre likely say that the pressure to act like 8 going on 25 really starts at to have friends from many different ethnic & racial backgrounds.17 Web page from The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood <>accessed 30 Sep 200918 20 M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, p 75 B.K. Kantrowitz & P.Wingert, ‘The Truth About Tweens’, article dated 18 April 1999,& 76 web page from the Newsweek website <> accessed19 M.Lindstrom, p289 31 Jul 2009 8
  11. 11. Theyre computer-savvy, accustomed to a world of information ‘. . .today’s girls are getting caught up in the beauty maintenance game at (social life based on e-mail) just a mouse click away.21 ages when they should be learning how to read – and long before their beauty needs enhancing.’22 This is dangerous ground because beautyAdvertising to tweens does have an impact on society, but there are obsession can lead to low self-esteem, poor academic performance,other factors like absentee parents, money, & poor role models. depression, eating disorders, and promiscuity, Mother & daughter‘Growing older younger’ is the biggest concern parents have because it authors in, 12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughters Tween Years, say,can cause issues with: materialism, over-sexualisation, diva-isation, self-esteem, obesity, & technology. These concerns do affect boys, but have Moms feel their daughters are growing up too fast. Girls hearmore of an impact on young girls. In the article Generation Diva – How provocative lyrics in songs without fully understanding what theour Obsession with Beauty is Changing our Kids, author Bennett states, words mean. Fashion magazines encourage outfits that many mothers put in the category of ‘pre-prostitute’. Schools offer sex education classes beyond the developmental ability of your 9- year-old daughter.23 Moms also reinforce beauty insecurities by indulging girls with spa treatments, highlights, perfume, designer clothing, lingerie and more thinking that it’s ‘cute’ or harmless fun. The media also reinforces this beauty obsession with shows: Extreme Makeover, Look 10 Years Younger, America’s Next Top Model, and I Want A Famous Face all with large Figure 14 - Girls innocently getting a mani-pedi, but why should they have to start 22 worrying about beauty at such a young age? J.Bennett, ‘Generation Diva – How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.’, article dated 30 Mar 2009, web page from Newsweek magazine<21 B.K. Kantrowitz & P.Wingert, ‘The Truth About Tweens’, article dated 18 April 1999,> accessed 20 Apr 2009 23web page from the Newsweek website <> accessed S.Clark and S.Clark, 12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughters Tween Years, Praeger31 Jul 2009 Publishers Inc., United States 2007, pviii 9
  12. 12. Figure 16 – Tweens annual spend on beauty treatments and products Figure 15 – America’s Next Top Model TV show. Many tween girls aspire to not only look like models but to try to be modelstween audiences. The NPD Group, founded in 1967, leading globalprovider of consumer and retail market research information found that,‘Eight –to-12 years-olds in the U.S. spend more than $40 million/monthon beauty products and teens spend another $100 million’.24 Isadvertising the only reason for this enormous amount? Another impact opportunity to be trendy, cool, rich, outrageous, rebellious or just plainadvertising has on tweens is its symbiotic relationship with brands. stylish.’25Martin Lindstrom discovered that, This brand identity goes much further for some tweens than a logo T-Brands have become an integral part of the way tweens define shirt and designer jeans, anti- advertising advocate Kalle Lasn is appalledthemselves . . . Tweens are the most brand-conscious generation yet. . . to discover that, ‘Kids tattoo their calves with swooshes. Other kids, atthey are a generation that was born exposed to at least 30,000 brands.’ It raves, begin wearing actual bar codes that other kids can scan, revealingis far more important to wear the right label than it is to wear the right messages . . . A boy named David Bently in Sydney, Australia, literallyclothes. . . Brands have become symbols of identity, offering the rents his head to clients, shaving a new ad into his hair every few24 J.Bennett, ‘Generation Diva – How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.’,article dated 30 Mar 2009, web page from Newsweek magazine< 25> accessed 20 Apr 2009 M.Lindstrom, p13 & 290 10
  13. 13. weeks.’26 An unfortunate side effect of advertising to tweens has turned The powerful force of tweens unofficially began in the early 90’s. Naomikids into walking and talking billboards they are on school lunch boxes, Klein reports that,’1992 was the first year since 1975 that the number ofnotebooks, backpacks, posters, bedding, clothing, hair products, teenagers in America increased’28 and Full-House was on TV. What dotoothpaste, the list is endless and sure to grow. these two things have to do with tweens? They are two factors that started the tween phenomenon – sheer numbers and Full-House (the first TV show with a tween following before anyone had ever heard ofWhy are they so Popular? tweens). Because tweens happened almost organically, there is no year, or person to give credit. So, I personally attribute the dawn of the tween ‘Tween’ is the designer label of the era to the Olsen twins. hour, with a fresher sound than the hand-me-down ‘preteen’, a shinier Figure 18- Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen All of their products look than the shop-worn ‘teen’ and a contain a Real Girl message which is a cooler aura than ‘kid’. Yet the curious contradiction. On one hand, the message celebrates thing about this newly delineated girls by presenting empowering images demographic is how blurry its of them solving problems and boundaries are. A. Hulbert 27 Figure 17- One of the many winning competitions. Yet, the selling of mainly movies the twins made - fashion & beauty note how young and products reinforces a26 innocent they looked in the young girls desire to K.Lasn, Culture Jam, HarperCollins, United States of America 1999, p20 90s27 be beautiful & that is A. Hulbert, ‘Tweens ‘R: Us’, article dated 28 Nov 2004, web page from The New York the key to life.Times website < 28Fact-Sheet.pdf> accessed 31 Jul 2009 N. Klein, No Logo, Knopf Canada, Canada 2000, p68 11
  14. 14. Why the Olsen twins? In the early 90’s, Mary- Kate and Ashley Olsen to the tween audience. So you can get an idea of just how big the tweenshared the role of ‘Michelle Tanner’ on Full-House, which quickly market is, here are the top 3 tween star earners from the Forbes 10became popular with families and kids alike on Friday night TGIF prime- Richest Hollywood Tween Stars 2007-2008 –time line-up. While filming Full-House, the twins realized that they hada large fan base. They felt the power of the tween dollar and the desire Figure 19-for tween identity. To satisfy this new emerging market they began 16-year-old Mileymaking numerous straight-to-video and made-for-TV movies. Cyrus Tween Star TV star and movieAccording to the Olsen twins biography on Moono, after the books and star all in one packagedolls sold like hotcakes, agents and managers put their heads togetherand formed Dualstar Entertainment which was created to directly handleall things Olsen.29 The show eventually was cancelled in 1995, allowingthe girls to begin their tween empire – amassing movies, clothing, music,video games, books, home decor , hair styling tools, make-up etc.Tweens can’t be that important to marketers – after all they don’t evenhave their own money? Well, today the Olsen twins are billionaires. 1 Miley Cyrus: $25 Million aka Hannah Montana she’s a singer actressAlthough they may not be tween stars anymore, they have paved the way 1 Daniel Radcliff: $25 Million aka Harry Potterfor new tween sensations like Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, the cast of High 2 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: $15MillionSchool Musical, The Jonas Brothers, Daniel Radcliff and more. These 3 Jonas Brothers: $12 Million every tween girls favourite band30stars don’t have to be tweens themselves- they just have to be marketed29 30 ‘Olsen Twins Biography’, web page from Moono < Forbes Richest Hollywood Tweens, Forbes,biography.cfm> accessed 20 Apr 2009 <> accessed 11 Aug 2009 (video) 12
  15. 15. Tween stars get paid a lot to be in movies and bands – that doesn’t mean To make tweens even more important - The U.S. Bureau of the Censustweens spend a lot of money does it? Well, to put things into perspective projects that by 2010 there will be . . . 63.5 million children 15 years of agethe Times Online article, Disney’s Global Phenomenon Hannah Montana, and younger (1996, 2000).32 Now that is a lot of voices! Among themexplains: Malia Obama 10 already a tween, and sister Sasha, who turns 8 this year. In 2007, the double album Hannah Montana 2/ Meet Miley Cyrus Figure 20- debuted at No 1 in the Billboard Top 200, then spent 12 Sasha & Malia Obama consecutive weeks in the top five. The last double album to achieve this feat was Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, more than 30 years ago. Miley’s clothing line was the top seller at Macy’s when it launched in 2006, her video game has sold 1.7m copies in the US, her DVDs have shipped 5m copies and a combination of her first novel and her autobiography (remember, she’s 16) has sold north of 30m copies worldwide. Last year, she In the USA Today article, It’s Cooler Than Ever To Be A Tween, But is was listed in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the Childhood Lost?, author Jayson believes that, ‘With the Obama daughters world, and Forbes ranked her at No 35 of their top-earning in the White House, the nations attention will focus even more on this celebrities, at $25m-plus. The TV series Hannah Montana had a emerging group — and the new "first tweens" will likely be high-profile global audience of 200m in 2008. Global retail sales of Disney representatives of their generation.’33 Consumer Products, which handles most of Miley’s merchandise, rose from $400m in 2007 to $2.7 billion in 2008. .31 32 D.Schumann and E.Thorson, p34331 33 Disney’s Global Phenomenon Hannah Montana, article dated 3 May 2009, web page S. Jayson, ‘It’s Cooler Than Ever To Be A Tween, But is Childhood Lost?’, articled dated 4from Times Online UK < uk/tol/arts_and_ Feb 2009, web page from USA Today <> accessed 1 Oct 2009 03-tweens-behavior_N.htm> accessed 6 Aug 2009 13
  16. 16. In the U.S. it is estimated that the direct value of pester power is Figure 21- Tweens $1.88 Trillion with a further $300 Billion from indirect influenceshopping, notice they all have like cable TV, phone plans and restaurants.36 similar hairstyles, clothes, and bags But what captures some companies’ attention is James McNeal’s belief that the tween segment is actually three markets in one-As you have already seen tweens are not popular just based on sheer size 1 Current market - spending their pocket money on their- according to 360 Youth, an advertising and marketing company, own desires ‘Tweens independently spend $51 billion annually and have 2 Future market - for most goods and services (like financial ‘considerable sway’ over another $170 billion annually spent on institutions and cars) them by parents and family.’34 3 Market of influential’s – influencing what their parentsNo other previous generation has had this much disposable income. Not buy.37only can they spend money but they are also savvy enough to know whatto buy - Lindstrom confirms, ‘By eight years of age, they’re able to Now if we combine their massive size, enormous spending power,comparison shop. . . and even when parents say ‘no’ nearly 6 out of 10 obsession with all things tween and the ability for them to become a 35kids keep asking for brands they want – an average of 9 times. Tweens lifetime consumers, it’s obvious why tweens are the largest and mostget what they want because parents are sick of hearing them complain, influential market today and companies are battling each other for theirLindstrom continues, attention.34 L.J... Seymour, ‘Tweens ‘R’ Shoppers’, article dated 22 April 2007, web page from TheNew York Times website < 36/nyregionspecial2/22RSHOP.html> accessed 31 Jul 2009 M.Lindstrom, p4735 37 M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, p47 J.McNeal, Children as Consumers: Insights and Implications, D. C. Heath and Company,& 266 United States 1987, p10 14
  17. 17. Figure 22 –Tween World The Cast of The Hills an MTV Reality Series, starring girls who live in ‘This is a generation with little, if any, L.A. & come from rich families. This show patience . . . millionaires are made in presents an unrealistic version of ‘reality’ for the majority of tweens. half an hour, & pop stars are created in 4 weeks. Meals are whipped up inmoments . . . in their world, the sky isthe limit, as long as you can achieve it ‘opening hours’’40 Technology may be constantly changing, but only here & now.’ 38 recently has it affected how we live our daily lives. How does this instantaneous mindset affect tweens? Tweens dreamThe article, Capture The Elusive Tween Market, states, ‘Tweens are very about popularity, fame and fortune. These things can and do come truebrand-conscious, highly impressionable, and use favorite brands to thanks to the combination of technology and reality TV. Reality TV hasdefine themselves.’39 Unfortunately, tweens have grown up with influenced and augmented tweens’ views on life - American Idol, Sweet 16,everything instantaneous from mobile phones, DVR recorders, and text Laguna Beach, The Hills, Made, Survivor, and America’s Next Top Model.messaging – they wait for nothing in life. What does this matter to The article, We’re cruel to fill their little heads with dreams of fame,brands? The reason Lindstrom cites is, ‘Brands need to be accessible 24 explains this influence further,hours a day, because this generation has little understanding of . . . Research published last week shows there has been a “seismic38 shift” in children’s ambitions over the space of a single generation. M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, p1139 T. Mininni, Capture The Elusive Tween Market, article dated 25 Sep 2009, web page Becoming a sports star is in top spot, becoming a pop star is atfrom Media Post<> 40accessed 1 Oct 2009 M.Lindstrom, p238 15
  18. 18. number two and the third slot is occupied by being a famous faster makes sense with the tweens who are forced to grow up quickly as actor (teaching, finance and medicine held the top three slots 25 the result of their home life or troubled world in general. In the article, years ago). Regarding the last two, the combination of reality 12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughters Tween Years, author Clark television talent shows and the abundance of drama or other explains, ‘ Tweens often act very mature for their age in public so as not “performing arts” courses means everyone thinks they can have a to appear ‘childish’- they have a pseudo sophisticated attitude – which go. This is basically insane — a mathematical impossibility.41 will disappear as they engage in age-appropriate activities.’42 Wanting to be older is not just affecting tweens - Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) found that the average 12 year old American wishes he/she were 17 What were once unreachable and the average 17 year old wants to be 19.43 Everyone wants to be dreams have now shifted to actionable definable desires, aspirational, right? Yes, but not to the tween extreme. An eight year old supported by heavy media acts completely different to a nine year old who acts differently to a ten campaigns, television, the internet year old and if you want to appeal to the teen market as well – we are & tween magazines all trumpet the talking a whole new brand strategy. same song, keeping dreams of Status is everything in tween’s lives and certain brands equal popularity fame & fortune tangibly alive.45 and acceptance– Lindstrom divulges that,Figure 23 – They want the most up-to-date technology, the hottest clothes,MTV Reality Series, My Super Sweet Sixteen – where spoiled kids gettreated to lavish parties & new cars – often costing their parents the smartest bikes, the fastest rollerblades and the most recenthundreds of thousands of $ DVD’s. To have the best is much the same as being the On the surface, this desire to be older revolves around trying to get the attention of older tweens and teens, wanting to be taken seriously, and be seen as mature. However, when you take a closer look, growing older 42 S.Clark and S.Clark, 12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughters Tween Years, Praeger Publishers Inc., United States 2007, pviii 41 43 I.Knight, We’re cruel to fill their little heads with dreams of fame, article dated 4 Oct 09, I. Yeoman, ‘Consumer Kids and Tourism’, article dated 6 Apr 2009, web page from web page from Times Online < Hospitality Net, < /news/154000320/4040764 /comment/columnists/india_knight/article6860110.ece> accessed 4 Oct 2009 search?query=consumer%20kids%20and%20tourism> accessed 20 Apr 2009 16
  19. 19. Figure 24 – best. . .theirs is an absolutely material reality where they become Harris Interactive their possessions.44 asked kids and teens in October 2006So tweens want to be popular and appear older, utilizing brands helps what things made themthem achieve this. In the article, What a Tween Wants ... Now, Marshall happy. TheCohen, NPD group chief industry analyst explains, ‘Whereas the teen majority of tweens willmarket uses style as their indicator of fashion acceptance, the tween fall under the childrenmarket uses brands as their indicator of fashion acceptance. Most tweens category. Notice thatdont have a lot of fashion sense, but they do have tremendous brand material objects &sense.’45 They see the attention other tweens get, when they have a new money are at the top of thecell phone, iPod, or even a certain pair of jeans, and they want it for list.themselves. But it’s not just the attention that tweens want - Lindstromdescribes, Tweens have a deeply passionate relationship with brands. If Close to half the world’s urban tween population states that the you give a tween a choice of picking a plain T-shirt over one with clothes and brands they wear describe who they are define their a brand name, picture, slogan or logo on it, 98% of them will social status . . . their lives are dominated by brands and logos . . . choose the shirt with a brand or logo . . . it would be a mistake to think that they merely regurgitate theIt’s not just American tweens that feel this way either, myriad of messages they hear. This generation is also very sceptical . . . they question things that dont feel right to them.4644 M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, This desire for brands doesn’t stop at clothes and CD’s either. The NPDp77,8145 E.Clack, What a Tween Wants ... Now: Group discovered that there is a new tween segment on the rise –Market Research Experts Reveal Whats New With This Important Demographic, articledated 1 Apr 2004, web page from Research Advisors < 46/childrensbusinessarticle2.html> accessed 1 Oct 2009 M.Lindstrom, p77, 110, 6 17
  20. 20. Perhaps fueled by the meteoric rise in popularity of home design According to industry statistics, over 60% of Tweens find out television shows like Trading Spaces, While You Were Out and about hot new brands or products from their friends, inside and Divine Design, the category of room decorating and furniture outside of school. They love to experiment and try new things. items has moved up the ranks considerably, attracting the New fads, trends and ideas that meet with peer approval shape attention of more and more tweens. Parents spent an average of their attitudes and gain acceptance. But be prepared to see these $ 76, over the three-month period, on room decor and accessories accepted trends or ideas become shaped in a manner Tweens can for their tweenaged child.47 make their own. Tweens respond very favorably to being able to have control over, or being able to create, their own experiences.In the recent article, Capture The Elusive Tween Market, author Mininni Mass personalization enables them to take control of brands andclarifies tweens’ relationship with brands, truly make them their own.48 We can see other instances of mass personalization taking-off – iPhone, iPod, Build-A-Bear etc. Figure 27– Apple iPods – allow tweens to pick a colour that represents them A more in-depth way to look at tweens is through behavioural Figure 25, 26 – segmentation, where they are classified into various ‘types’ based on Images of a very decorated tween girl’s personalities and behaviour patterns. Why does segmenting matter? bedroom47 E.Clack, What a Tween Wants ... Now: Market Research Experts Reveal Whats New 48With This Important Demographic, article dated 1 Apr 2004, web page from Research T. Mininni, Capture The Elusive Tween Market, article dated 25 Sep 2009, web pageAdvisors <> accessed 1 Oct from Media Post < t_ aid=114331> accessed 1 Oct 2009 18
  21. 21. Since most tweens use word of mouth and peer referrals to pass on The last group are the reflexives; this group tries to increaseinformation about brands, behaviour segmentation allows us to target a popularity and acceptance among their peers, often withoutspecific type of tween so that the message can get to the appropriate much success.50recipient. According to Lindstrom, generally tweens can be divided into Although you may think you have all the info regarding tweens and4 groups: edges, persuaders, followers and reflexives.49 brand relationship – there are many other factors influencing tweens on Edges are the independent rebellious tweens who don’t a daily basis. A Report: Understanding Tweens, makes clear, necessarily see themselves as being on the cutting edge. They are Tweens understand the importance of wearing the right label or anti-fashion and supposedly anti-brand. However, they often clothes and the need for social acceptance but we must not forget identify with brands that reflect their rebellious behaviour. These that this is an age when friendships are fragile – whispering tweens are typically anti-mainstream culture and brands campaigns and gossip are rife. Character development and the although they do tend to still dress similarly to other edges often transition from primary to secondary school takes place at this wearing brands they feel they have ‘discovered’. age, meaning that peer groups can change rapidly and a new The next group are the persuaders or influencers, these are the circle of friends can be acquired with opposite brand affinities, most popular tweens in school who everyone wants to secretly be which can either reinforce or dilute brand strength and loyalty.51 friends with and emulate. Their decisions are adopted by the whole group and this is the group that marketers vie to harness. The third group are the followers, they represents the mainstream and form the bulk of today’s tweens. They listen to persuaders, but also have an ear open to the fringes. 50 M.Lindstrom, p16 51 A. Geeson, Report: Understanding Tweens, web page from Vox Pops International <> accessed 1 Oct49 M.Lindstrom, BrandChild Revised Edition, Kogan Page Limited, Great Britain 2003, p15 2009 19
  22. 22. Lastly, economic factors due influence tween spending and trends. Tweens are complicated. You need to get to know them on different 53Because tweens are more local (no car access) than teens and may have levels to truly understand them.smaller allowances- a new trend is seen to be emerging. The article,What a Tween Wants ... Now, provides details, No longer carrying loose pants or comfortable stylish tees, I was bombarded with rhinestone tank tops, miniskirts and low-rise Though brands are still big, in an interesting, new development, underwear. Why a 9-year-old would even wear low-rise underwear? tweens are beginning to demonstrate that it is not entirely a brands or bust situation. Perhaps triggered by the fact that they are now suddenly feeling the necessity of pinching their pennies, tweens are more willing to pass up big name labels for the sake of value and economy--as long as they have one hot ticket outfit or, as Marshal Cohen, NPD Group analyst has coined it, a power outfit. "What kids are doing is going out and buying one expensive, must-have outfit or item--representing the brands everyone is wearing--and then theyll fill in the rest of their wardrobe with less expensive items," he explains. "So, they might splurge on a pricey pair of brand name jeans, and then buy a Figure 28,29 - Homepage for Justice, above –models on page, bunch of T-shirts, sweaters and other wardrobe pieces at value right . . . a popular tween girl clothing brand & is now replacing prices."52 sister store to the Limited Too, the first tween clothing store of its kind started in the mid-90’s52 E.Clack, What a Tween Wants ... Now: Market Research Experts Reveal Whats New 53With This Important Demographic, article dated 1 Apr 2004, web page from Research M.Jhu, Girly Dominance: Death of the Tomboy, article dated 20 Apr 09, web page fromAdvisors <> accessed 1 Oct Examiner < /04/opinion/girly _girl_dominance _2009 death186/> accessed 4 Oct 2009 20
  23. 23. Media Usage family income, use of time and space, or importance within the conduct of social relations.’ She gives more details, Tweens present an interesting ‘Generally speaking the average tween in the U.S. has access to demographic. They have an amazing TV, Internet, radio, and a cell phone. Despite all the hype about ability to multi-task. Tweens can new media (internet) displacing old media, for most children television remains far and away the most popular medium in engage in a conversation, have one terms of time spent with it, followed by music, video and eye on the TV, or their ears plugged computer games.’55 into their favorite tunes on the iPod as they instant message friends on the Internet. These kids can do many things simultaneously, including their homework, without skipping a beat. 54Sonia Livingstone, in her book Young People and New Media, states that‘Studies have shown that households with children generally own moreinformation and communication technologies and media are playing anever greater role in children’s daily lives, whether measured in terms of Figure 30- Tween Daily Media Usage 2007 – note that TV is still the leader54 T. Mininni, Capture The Elusive Tween Market, article dated 25 Sep 2009, web page 55from Media Post < S.Livingstone, Young People and New Media, Sage Publications Ltd, Great_aid=114331> accessed 1 Oct 2009 Britain 2002 p60 21
  24. 24. What does it matter what media they prefer? Well, if you want tweens to Kids television is getting older. . . Nobody quite pay attention to what you’re saying it’s not just the message that matters. understood you could create lifestyle franchises out of TV is visual, sounds, music- stimulating a shared experience and it is live-action tween shows, a trend that started with easy to reach both parents and kids. Lindstrom explains, ‘TV is a central Disneys first big hit, Lizzie McGuire, in 2001. . . The biggest trends are more live-action hits and fewer animation hits, says Nickelodeon Television general manager Tom Ascheim.57 A Disney Press Release for TV 3Q 2009 announcing that Disney held the top 2 Tween TV programs and 6 of the top 7 overall with 19% viewership with tweens 9 -1 4.58Figure 31- Figures are based on tweens rating their preferences to media they have access to part of their lives; they actively pay attention and absorb more details - Figure 32- Press release from Disney Source: Nielsen Media Research, 3Q09:6/29/09-9/27/09 y with the same level of exposure, kids are 3 times more likely to remember that they have seen a brand advertised on TV than adults.’56 In the article, Cable TV Rides the Tween Wave, the link between tweens and 57 G. Levin, ‘Cable TV rides the tween wave’, article dated 28 Mar 2007, web page from the TV programming is clarified. USA TODAY website < TV-cover_N.htm> accessed 31 Jul 2009 58 Disney Channel Delivers Cable’s Top 2 Scripted Telecasts of 3Q09 in Total Viewers and TV’s Top 2 Telecasts in Target Kid Demos article dated 29 Sep 2009, web page from TV By the Numbers < 56 M.Lindstrom, p64 cable > accessed 1 Oct 2009 22
  25. 25. The Internet is the second biggest medium that tweens spend chunks of finally circulate things they create through the Internet to sharetheir day interacting with. A 2002 U.S. Department of Commerce study with others.60found that two thirds of U.S. children 9 to 17 use the Internet . . . withapproximately 25% of 5-year-olds .59 (this is important because oncethese 5 year-olds are tweens the overall tween Internet usage willincrease). The usage of media does vary from male to female as well asby age. But tweens in general are very media savvy who parents oftenturn to with technology questions. Although the majority of tweenswatch TV, when they do log onto the Internet they are most activelyinvolved and engaged. Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture,describes more accurately what the Internet means to this generation, The Internet allows them to pool knowledge with others in a collaborative space, have the ability to share and compare value systems (ex: talking about situations they saw on TV, who won this etc.), the ability to make connections across media using clues (ex: Pokémon with video game, cartoon and playing cards), the ability to express interpretations and feelings through pop culture (ex: writing for the fictional Harry Potter Newspaper) and Figure 33 – Teen & Tween Comparison of weekly activities, although tweens may not being partaking in some activities as much as tweens it is important to note for brands who would like their products to grow with them.59 60 D.Schumann and E.Thorson, Internet Advertising: Theory and Research, Psychology H.Jenkins., Convergence Culture, New York University Press, United States of AmericaPress, United States 2007, p343 2006, p176 23
  26. 26. Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited distinct, identities. Hence, the widespread irritation occasionedChildren released results from a 2008 study on what tweens do online. A by siblings intruding into spaces in which friendships arefew highlights from the study include: conducted, media are engaged with, or privacy enjoyed • 90% of tweens report having used the Internet by 9 years-old represents an irritation not simple due to the interruption of an • Tweens online presence doubles or even triples between the activity or conversation but a clash of identities.62 ages of 8 - 10 and 11 - 12 • 34% of 11 and 12 year-olds have a profile on a social networking Many tweens’ desires for feeling included, acting older, and being site61 whoever they want to be are satisfied through virtual reality games.It is important to note that tweens are actively engaged with the Internet Recently there has been an increase in the number of brands anddoing a range of activities (see Fig 30) BUT they are often involved with companies that offer a virtual reality component to their websites (refergroups or activities that others may perceive as having conflicting to Fig 32). KZero, a company that develops marketing and brand-driveninterests or views. Therefore tweens often are completely different campaigns for the virtual worlds sector just released their Kids, Tweenspeople from one minute to the next – morphing and changing attitudes and Teens in Virtual Worlds report,and behaviour. Livingstone elaborates, Virtual Worlds are not just for adults. In fact kids, tweens and Tweens are unlike previous generations of children, media plays teens worlds account for a significantly higher proportion of a central part in their highly technical and global lives creating users than all the major ‘grown-up’ worlds combined – and these tweens with differing personalities for each group they chat, play, user-bases are growing rapidly. . . What is a virtual world? In game or virtual reality with; “. . . whether children can keep their essence, it’s an online 3D environment where people (avatars) friendships distinct in space and time from their family can interact with each other by communication (text, voice, or relationships is crucial to the sustaining of multiple, possibly chat), collaboration and shared experiences.6361 62 Tween Internet Usage Study, article dated 24 Jul 2008, web page from S.Livingstone, p155 63<> Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds article dated 29 Sep 2009, web page fromaccessed 1 Oct 2009 KZero <> accessed 1 Oct 2009 24
  27. 27. Figure 34 – Chart withcurrent virtual reality sites to tweens andnumerous sites in developmentdemonstrating the popularity of virtual reality 25
  28. 28. them sleep deprivation then makes sense. The article Teens, texting and Figure 35- the sleep connection, enlightens us as to the actual phone usage: Verizon Blitz Smartphone specifically designed &marketed to tweens. It features a QWERTY keyboard, 1.3 megapixel camera, VCAST music, Teens and tweens are not just texting, instant-messaging and Bluetooth and a microSD slot. surfing Facebook all day; theyre sleeping with their cell phones or laptops, too. Or rather, not sleeping. And doctors and parents,Mobile phones are a big player to tweens and they are always on them. many of them raised in an era when phones were attached toContradictory to what we may think, Nielsen Mobile suggests that many walls, are concerned. . . The surge in all-hours texting has beentweens actually use them, helped by unlimited text-messaging plans, Nielsen researchers say. But it also stems from the fact that a phone is no longer just 46% of U.S. tweens use cell phones, but only 26% own them - a communication device; its a carrier of games, facilitator of tweens are more likely to borrow their parents. The borrowing research, organizer of schedules and all-around boredom typically starts at age eight-and-a-half; by age 10 or 11, many quencher. Its also an alarm clock, hence its location on bedside 64 tweens have their own phones. tables everywhere.65I believe the vast age range is lowering the overall usage number. If you Margie Ryerson, a California therapist who specializes in adolescentrecall they typically don’t get their own cell phones till 10 or 11 – therefore issues, describes the psychology behind this constant contact, ‘It comesthis age group would most likely have a 46%+ penetration -Justifying the from wanting to avoid being left out. They wont be consideredvast majority of tweens we see on the phone. The following article about important and significant in their peer group, if they dont know whatstweens and teens being so attached to their phones that it is causing64 65 ‘U.S. Mobile Market Dialing Into Tween Population’ , article dated 11 Sep 2008, web page J.Burrell, Teens, texting and the sleep connection, article dated 29 Sep 2009, web pagefrom the Nielsen Media website < from Seattle Times <> accessed 31 Jul 2009 textingteens29.html> accessed 1 Oct 2009 26